Blue Bell, PA – “Without Gus there’s no St. George. Without St. George there would be no Gus. They’re always going to be together”, said John Sarkioglu. Sarkioglu was one of a handful of speakers, among family and friends, that paid tribute to Gus Sossangelos, a former member of St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Philadelphia.
The 4th annual Golf Classic fundraiser hosted for St. George and paid tribute this time to Gus Sossangelos. More than 60 golfers participated in the 18 hole event, hosted at the Meadowlands Country Club. The funds are used for restoration of the church and future projects that help preserve the historic Greek community around Greek Cathedral.
Gus Sossangelos grew up in the St. George community where he and his families legacy were recognized as part of the founders. This happened in 1922 when St. Andrew Episcopal Church was bought by the Greek immigrant community growing in Olde City Philadelphia.
“My husband loved his family, St. George Cathedral and golf. So he’d be happy if he saw this today. He was a golf player,” said his wife, Alice. It was a perfect day for golf. Perhaps Gus had called in a favor for us or was just looking on smiling. Looking through the crowd and listening to the stories being shared, his presence was felt.
Sussangelos had passed 20 years ago, but today his words and personality resonated with those that knew him around the community and his church. St. George Church President, Attorney Tony Beldecos spoke of his years and their relationship. “He had boundless energy and an infectious enthusiasm which made him a natural leader in business and at St. George.”
Sossangelos was a constant in moving his community forward. He worked tirelessly behind scenes and in front of the church. He would meet with all church members at any time. At Greek festivals he worked round the clock while making deals throughout the year, that kept the community growing in the future. He was boundlessly generous and philanthropic.
This was summed up by Beldecos, who quoted Sossangelos from years ago. Beldecos was a young man, working closing behind the scenes at the church with Sossangelos who was so generous with springing for meals, that Beldecos had grown uncomfortable. Beldecos tried to explain to Sossangelos, that he must pay. But Sossangelos’ personality and love of giving were too much.
“Tony, I can afford to do this, and I enjoy doing this. And someday, your hair will be gray, and you’ll be treating the next generation” said Sossangelos about helping a new member of the church. Tony threw up his hands and pointed at his white hair as he laughed. The crowd laughed along and sighed.
And with that, that comment from more than twenty years ago, Sossangelos had sent us his message that lives on. It’s all about the next generation and helping.